A tailor's bunion, also called a bunionette, is a bony bump that forms outside your foot, just below your pinky toe. Like a typical bunion, tailor’s bunion form because of faulty mechanics in your foot. But, in this case, those forces cause your fifth metatarsal bone to rotate towards your foot’s edge. But why does this happen, how can you treat a tailor’s bunion, and what’s up with that professional sounding name? Keep reading to find out.
Why did I get a Tailor’s Bunion?
As we just mentioned, a tailor’s bunion forms when your foot is subject to faulty biomechanics. Once upon a time, people thought you could get this deformity from sitting cross-legged, like a tailor. (Hence, the name.) Today, though, we know that your rotating fifth metatarsal bone could be the result of your foot structure and genetics to the shoes you wear making matters worse.
Now, whatever the cause of your bunionette, we can treat this deformity. But we have to identify what’s causing your rotation if we want to prevent your deformity from returning. In a minute, we’ll highlight your treatment options. First, we’ll talk about symptoms of a tailor’s bunion. The reason? The earlier you seek treatment for a tailor’s bunion, the more likely it is that we can give relief and stop progression without scheduling you for surgery.
Even before there’s a visible bump. A developing tailor’s bunion could cause swelling and discomfort on the outside of the foot, beneath the pinky toe. Next, you may notice a small bump close to the toe’s base, leading to rubbing, irritation and pain in the area, especially when you put on shoes that aren’t roomy.
Other signs of a bunionette include tender, red skin around the area at the base of your pinky toe. Additionally, a corn or callus may form between your baby toe and your fourth toe. (That’s a reaction to the pressure caused by your rotating fifth metatarsal bone.) If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your podiatrist in Powder Springs, GA right away. After all, if you don’t treat a small tailor’s bunion, it will become a larger problem.
Diagnosing and Treating a Tailor’s Bunion
When you come into the office complaining of these symptoms, Dr. Alvin Cowans will perform a physical exam. He may also order x-ray images to determine the extent of changes that have occurred to your fifth metatarsal bone. Once we know the severity of your tailor’s bunion, we can determine the best treatment plan.
Treating a Tailor's Bunion without Surgery
While we can’t get rid of your bunionette bump without surgery, we can relieve symptoms and prevent progression with non-invasive options.
First, we can take pressure off your tailor's bunion by making sure that your shoes have room around the toes and the middle of your foot. Right away, this should reduce your pain levels, by eliminating any rubbing against that bony bump.
To further reduce friction and pressure, we can also recommend a pad or cushion to protect your tailor’s bunion, so that you can go about your daily business without irritating the area. Then, if you’re still experiencing discomfort, we can also suggest anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief.
Now, we’ll also want to prevent that bunionette from growing larger. And, to do that, we’ll suggest getting fitted for custom orthotics. How can medical grade insoles help your tailor’s bunion? When we design them to fit your foot, they can get it back in alignment and make sure pressure is evenly distributed across your foot. While this won’t get rid of your tailor’s bunion, it can reduce painful symptoms and prevent the bump from getting bigger. Suddenly, you’ll be able to wear your shoes without the painful reminder of your bulging bunionette.
But what about those shoes? When you have any type of bunion, you have to choose those shoes carefully. First, we’ll look at the shoe’s toe box, making sure that there’s enough room to keep pressure off your bunionette, and to accommodate your new orthotics.
We can also help you manage any pain or discomfort with medications, stretches, or even physical therapy designed to help you recover from any changes to your gait caused by that tailor's bunion. Not finding relief with these interventions? Or do you really want to get rid of your bump and restore your foot’s original silhouette? If that’s the case, it’s time to talk about surgery.
Tailor’s Bunion Surgery
When non-surgical treatment options don’t relieve your tailor’s bunion, we can explore minimally invasive surgery for bunionettes or an open surgical procedure. There are various ways to surgically correct a tailor’s bunion deformity, and we can determine the best treatment option after determining the extent of your protrusion, the severity of your symptoms, and your lifestyle considerations.
Regardless of the approach we take, the goal of tailor’s bunion surgery is to realign your fifth metatarsal bone, while getting rid of any excess bone that’s formed around your pinky toe joint. After your surgery, you will need to exercise caution during your recovery period. Right after the procedure, you’ll have to take pressure off your foot, either by wearing a surgical shoe or walking boot. This will give your foot a chance to heal.
Now, we know that surgery, immobilization and down time all sound frightening. But we’ll be with you every step of the way, making sure that your recovery goes smoothly. Soon enough, you’ll be back on your feet and enjoying all your favorite shoes, without worrying about whether or not they’ll fit around your tailor’s bunion.
Have you noticed that a bump is developing on the outside of your foot, beneath your fifth toe? Are you experiencing discomfort every time you put on your shoes? Don’t waste time at home, hoping things will get better: an untreated tailor’s bunion will continue to grow. That’s why we encourage you to schedule an appointment in the office as soon as you notice symptoms of a tailor’s bunion. When you come in, we’ll explain your treatment options and get you on the road to recovery.